All hell breaks loose after EFF’s ‘African National Criminals’ remark

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Johannesburg – ANC and EFF members traded insults and exchanged swear words during an official sitting of the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday, in an almost exact replication of the chaos in Parliament last week.

In a play on the ANC’s acronym, an EFF representative labelled the ruling party the “African National Criminals” and charged that they were responsible for the looting of the public purse.

The EFF’s Mandisa Mashego also accused Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Jacob Mamabolo of being a liar and charged that he was giving government tenders to his ANC allies.

She began her tirade against Mamabolo by accusing him of lying to the people of Diepsloot about his plans to build houses and a proper sewerage system.

Mashego claimed that jobs for the construction of houses and sewer upgrade were allocated only to ANC members.

The allegations angered the ANC, and Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane was heard telling EFF members “nisijwayel’amasimba” – loosely translated to mean “You are being overfamiliar with us in a s**tty kind of way.”

Mashego later withdrew her characterisation of the ANC as criminals and the lying claims against Mamabolo.

Subsequently, as emotions rose, Nkosi-Malobane refused to leave the House after the Speaker, Ntombi, Mekgwe instructed her to do so.

Later, she denied making the “unparliamentary comments” and asked Mekgwe to conduct an investigation.

This angered EFF members, who accused Mekgwe of bias, saying if it were them, “Mekgwe would have been quick to call the police”.

But the frayed tempers were still simmering.

Mashego rose during a debate on the illegal sale of land in the Princess informal settlement in Roodepoort, repeatedly accused Nkosi-Malobane of incompetence and said she had failed to properly investigate criminal cases involving ANC members.

At this point, Nkosi-Malobane turned in her seat and faced Mashego squarely.

“Ke mmao! It’s your mother (who’s incompetent)!” she spat out in Sesotho. The epithet carries a lot of venom in the vernacular and is not said in polite company.

“This thing (Nkosi-Malobane) is rude,” an EFF member retorted, weakly.

Nkosi-Malobane denied making the comment, but EFF members threatened to disrupt the proceedings unless she apologised.

Mekgwe declined to act, leading to the party questioning her impartiality. Sensing that things were getting out of control, the Speaker then referred to two remaining parliamentary questions to the next sitting on Thursday in a bid to defuse the tension.

Things quietened down when portfolio committees presented their reports for adoption.

In the middle of the debate, Mashego called ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa, who was seated calmly and not participating in the debate, “corrupt and a fraud”.

The outburst came after acting Health MEC Lebogang Maile declined to give details of the termination of the contract of his former head of department (HoD), Hugh Gosnell.

Maile described it as an “amicable parting of ways” between them.

He also said the matter was sub judice – angering the DA and EFF.

Mashego then surmised that Maile’s refusal to take the legislature into her confidence was allegedly due to the fact that Gosnell had played an instrumental role in exposing the “activities of corrupt Brian Hlongwa”.

She was referring to a multimillion-rand civil suit against Hlongwa and other service providers in the high court in Joburg.

Gosnell was not the HoD when Hlongwa allegedly committed the fraudulent acts.

Mekgwe reprimanded Mashego again and ordered her to withdraw her remarks. “There is no Brian Hlongwa in the legislature.”

“I withdraw, Mr Brian Hlongwa,” Mashego said. Mekgwe then told her that addressing Hlongwa as Mr was inappropriate in the legislature.

“I cannot call him ‘honourable’ Brian Hlongwa because he is corrupt,” the EFF MPL insisted.

Mekgwe concluded the debates by pledging to investigate the conduct of both the ANC and EFF, promising she would take harsh action against the guilty parties.

The Star / IOL


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